Pumpkin belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. Pumpkin is commonly viewed as a vegetable, but scientifically it is a fruit, as it contains seeds and is nutritionally more similar to vegetables than fruits.
1. Impressive nutrient profile
One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:
- Calories: 49
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Manganese: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
Rich in small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.
Very high in beta-carotene a precursor of vitamin A.
Moreover, pumpkin seeds are edible, nutritious, and linked to numerous health benefits.
2. High Antioxidant Content
Pumpkin contains the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and many others, which may protect your cells against damage by free radicals.
3. Boosts Immunity
Pumpkin is rich in vitamins A and C, which can help boost the immune system. It is also packed with vitamin E, iron, and folate, which can strengthen the immunity as well.
4. Protects Eyesight
Pumpkins’ high vitamin A may protect the eyes against sight loss, which becomes more common with age. The two compounds lutein and zeaxanthin present in pumpkin are known to reduce the risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The good amounts of vitamins C and E present in pumpkin act as antioxidants to prevent free radicals from damaging the eye cells.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
Pumpkin is considered a nutrient-dense food, which indicates that it is incredibly low in calories > 50 calories per cup (245 grams) and consists of about 94% of water. Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber, which can help curb appetite and promote weight loss.
6. Lowers The Risk of Cancer
Pumpkins contain carotenoids, which function as antioxidants. These compounds are linked to lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas, and breast cancers.
7. Promotes Heart Health
Pumpkin is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, which are known to promote heart health.
8. Supports Healthy Skin
Beta-carotene acts as a natural sunblock. Vitamins C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin present in pumpkin, can help keep skin firm and healthy.
Who Shouldn’t Eat pumpkin?
Pumpkin is very healthy and considered safe for most. However, some people may experience pumpkin food allergy.
Pumpkin is mildly diuretic. This effect may harm people taking certain medicines such as lithium.
Although pumpkin is healthy, however, avoid pumpkin-based junk foods which are loaded with added sugar.